‘There never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.’
‘My schedule is packed. I’m always in a rush.’
‘I don’t have time to wait for this. I am very busy.’
What’s your mindset around time? What kind of language do you use when speaking about time, to yourself or others?
What does this have to do with your health?
First, for your health: a lot. If you constantly feel pressed for time, then you are constantly stressed. You did not evolve to be under a continuous ‘low’ level of stress. Did you know that, for many thousands of years, your ancestors spent large portions of their days just relaxing?
Our industrialized, connected culture is amazing. I do not want to go back the days before penicillin or electricity.
I do want you to be aware that your body, in the last few hundred years, has not evolved as quickly as your environment has. Also, your body is a highly sophisticated computer – much more complex than a computer at NASA.
Chronic, low-level stress is a threat to your health. It’s being backed by more & more research every year, but, your body already knows this.
So, what does your mindset around time have to do with this?
I am not a Zen master. I still find myself in the scarcity mindset around time. I feel the pressure. I feel the stress. I know what it’s like to ‘be in a rush’. I have two jobs, two kids, and a wife.
But the idea that ‘there’s not enough time in the day’ is only one way to look at it. There is another mindset that you can choose.
You can, little by little, start to see that you have an abundance of time.
You won’t be able to quit your job, free yourself of all obligations, and go climb Mt. Kilimanjaro tomorrow. (Most likely.)
But you can learn better planning, and practice making better choices. You can choose to get the most important things done, and, you can start to politely say ‘no’ to some of the other things.
You can start to speak about time with positive language, which, in turn, changes your attitude, and reduces stress.
You can learn how to relax deeply, instead of waiting anxiously.
You can build in a regular spiritual practice, which does not have to be meditation, but it does have to be (a) regular; preferably daily, and (b) something that gives your mind a true break from itself.
Managing your stress is as fundamental to your overall health as diet & exercise are. If you need some help working on this, just let me know 🙂
And yes, I did feel some perceived time pressure as I was writing this post before I had to go to work.
But I still made ten minutes to meditate anyway.